Deep Ecology v. Native American Beliefs
Born in 1912, philosopher Arne Naess created the ideas, and term “Deep Ecology” to portray the ideas that nature itself, has greater value than just its use by human beings. He states that all life forms have the right to flourish and reach its full potential without human interference (First Principle). He expressed these ideas through the 8 principles of Deep Ecology, which, in my eyes are extremely similar to traditional Native American beliefs and stories in the writings of Linda Hogan and Barry Lopez.
In his 8 principles Naess states that the richness and diversity in life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves (Second principle). The third principle states that humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs. This idea is one that a large number of Native American tribes also exercise to an extreme. If an animal was killed, the meat would be used for food however, the skins were used as clothing, and bones crafted into tools, even intestines were used as rope. Naess’s fourth and fifth principles state that current human interference with the nature is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening, the suggested solution being a smaller human population.
Although that solution may not be at all possible, I believe Naess to be correct in saying our interference with nature is excessive. The major causes of animal extinction are habitat destruction and climate change. The ever expanding human population constantly requires additional space and resources. Land is being cleared to harvest resources such as timber as well as to make way for human settlement and agriculture. Acid rain, heavy metals, pesticides, plastic waste and oil spills all harm the environment and put species at risk. Chemicals are particularly harmful to species that live in water. Animals such as the polar bear are...
Cited: 1: Conway, Timothy. “Deep Ecology: Principles + Resources.” Enlightened Spirituality. N.P, 2007. Web. 18 October 2012
2: “Endangered Species.” Arkive. Web. 18 October 2012
3: Hogan, Linda. “Creations” Heart of The Land: Essays on Last Great Places Pantheon Books, 1994. N.Y. Pages 92-109
4: Lopez, Barry. “Landscape and Narrative” Crossing Open Ground. Vintage Books, 1998. Pages 61-71
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